U of M Law School Braces for State Funding Loss

According to MPR, the University of Minnesota Law School could become one of a few public law schools in the nation that don't receive state funding.

Officials at the University of Minnesota Law School are bracing for the possibility that the school could lose its state funding, which would make it one of just a few public law schools in the nation that don't get money from the states where they operate, according to Minnesota Public Radio (MPR).

MPR reported that the law school has launched a fundraising campaign, called the Generations campaign, to boost scholarships for needy students. But in addition to money for scholarships, the school will soon need extra cash to cover a decrease in state funding as lawmakers consider cuts for higher education.

Bruce Mooty-a principal at Minneapolis law firm Gray Plant Mooty who graduated from the U of M law school and is co-chair of the fundraising campaign-told MPR that state funding has dropped significantly over the years.

“When I went to law school, the state support of the school was roughly 80 percent,” Mooty told MPR. “It probably will be zero in the not-too-distant future.”

According to MPR, about 12 percent of the law school's funding, or just over $5 million of its $42 million budget, comes from the state and is allocated to the law school through U of M administration. Due to a decrease, or possible total loss, in state funding, the school is reportedly preparing to become financially self-sufficient.

“It's clear that we'll lose a significant component, probably the majority of our remaining state funding in this coming year,” David Wippman, dean of the law school, told MPR. “I think we will lose much, if not all of it, soon thereafter.”

School officials told MPR that they do not expect to have to increase class sizes as they switch to financial self-sufficiency, but they'll need to increase tuition revenue and private fundraising to make up for the loss of state money.

Click here to read more from MPR about the law school's future financial plans.